Some 5km southwest of Festival City, the Dubai Creek comes to an impressive end at Ras al Khor (“Head of the Creek”), forming an extensive inland lagoon dotted with mangroves and surrounded by intertidal salt and mud flats – a unique area of unspoilt nature close to the city centre. This being Dubai, much of Ras al Khor’s rare natural habitat is under threat, earmarked for the vast new The Lagoons development, featuring seven interconnected artificial islands along with the usual malls, five-star hotels and the city’s first opera house. The project has been plagued with problems (not least the arrest on corruption charges of four of the developer’s senior executives), and although construction work continues to limp along, exactly what will ever get built (and when) remains unclear.

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  • Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary